I love the Internet. Relevant to this post, how easy research is because of the Internet. Before anything I ever wanted to know was at my fingertips, I had to use the library, other people, personal experience, and hope. I remember once, when I was 18 and before research on the Internet was as easy as it is now, mentioning to someone I was writing a story set on Molokai. She gave me a weird look and asked, “In the leper colony?” I had no idea there was a leper colony, because the material I had on Molokai hadn’t mentioned it. Now, though, we have Wikipedia, which may not be the most reliable resource to begin with, but it does give me a place to start whenever I want to learn something new or research something I don’t know anything about.
The thing about Cass is that it takes place in a romance novel-style universe, where bad things don’t really happen, and even when they do our heroes and heroines get happy endings, anyway. That’s what’s so nice about HEA and HFA. So on real-life road trips, obviously I advocate being careful.
Planning for your road trip is nice.
There’s a .gov website to help with fuel economy, and sites to help with planning the whole trip or even suggesting trips and finding scenic drives. Now you can even plan ahead for roadside attractions.
I’ve been on a lot of road trips. By far the best things to come from them have been the unexpected discoveries. My friend and I turned around on a detour in Arizona when we saw a place called Bad Ass Coffee, and honestly it’s probably the best coffee I’ve ever had. When my mother was working in Andover, I went to see her, and one day we drove up to Vermont, where–at the rest stop, no less–we discovered Green Mountain Coffee. Now I can get it at Sonic, which is nice because it’s not always available in local grocery stores. We also checked out the Green Mountain Visitor Center while we were there, and oh my gosh those views were amazing. (On the subject of views, one of my favorites has always been from the first rest stop just past the Arizona state line headed out of New Mexico, the one on I-40 in Apache County.) I can’t remember exactly which state we were in, Vermont or New Hampshire or Connecticut or Massachusetts, but one of them had this place to get the most amazing sandwiches on a winding back road. I think I remember covered bridges being important that day? I do remember that the sandwich, turkey with cranberry spread, was incredible. In Ohio last year, on our way up to see the in-laws, we stopped at The Valley Marketplace and got amazing truffles, fantastic cheese, and some really great jerky, among other treats. The same year we discovered Bad Ass Coffee, my friend and I stayed at the Step Back Inn in Aztec, NM before we saw the ruins. That trip, we also discovered that Econolodge, despite the price point, has the best showers. When I was little–younger than my oldest is now, probably–we stopped somewhere in Arizona or maybe New Mexico had a roadside stand that served Indian Bread. I’m not sure if this is it, or if it even exists anymore, but I found this place on Facebook. These places are on Facebook now!
With summer in full swing, road trips are happening. Maybe you’re even thinking about your own. The Internet has resources, whether you’re planning to head out on the road yourself or send out a character. I’ve shared some of my favorites. I’d love to see some of yours in the comments below.